Democracy & Peace

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    ECOWAS leaders gathered at the 55th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on 29 June in Abuja, Nigeria. Taking stock of 44 years of co-operation, they committed to consolidating the region’s integration. However, security challenges continue to undermine West Africa’s integration efforts. An ECOWAS extraordinary summit will be held on 14 September 2019 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to better co-ordinate the fight against terrorism. Read on
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    As part of its transnational security series, the Munich Security Council organised a roundtable debate on the eve of the ECOWAS summit on 28 June in Abuja. The event brought together high-level government representatives, security experts and business leaders from across the region. Participants discussed new ways to co-operate and counter illicit flows and other transnational crimes. Read on
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    Launched at the occasion of the transnational security issues roundtable in June, this report provides some examples of transnational illicit flows that endanger global security by funding conflicts and perpetuating instability. It focuses on four key areas of illicit flows: people, goods, money and data. The report sounds the alarm about the main threats posed by illicit flows and identifies possible co-operative approaches to address the issue, building on the ongoing efforts of multilateral and national bodies. Read on
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    Following Merkel’s business-focused West Africa tour in August 2018 of Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, the German chancellor came back to the region for a three-day tour of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger on 1-3 May. This time, discussions focused on security and counter-terrorism efforts in the Sahel. Chancellor Merkel participated in the G5 Sahel Extraordinary Summit on 1 May in Ouagadougou. Germany pledged an additional EUR 46 million for Burkina Faso and EUR 35 million for Niger to support development projects and to pay for security force equipment and training. Read on
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    This op-ed, published on the IPI Global Observatory, by Jorge Moreira da Silva, OECD director of the Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD) and Eric Rosand, director of the Prevention Project and Brookings non-resident senior fellow, calls upon governments and development partners to develop a new approach to development that prioritizes prevention. A stronger focus on prevention will require “a much more coherent effort among political, security, development, humanitarian and peace actors—recognizing that the challenges in fragile contexts are too big and too complex for one set of actors to tackle alone,” explain the authors. Read on
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    Voter turnout is a key indicator of the vitality of a democracy. It helps measure the trust that citizens place in their political institutions and politicians, and shows how citizens participate in the governance of their country. While the global average voter turnout has decreased significantly since the 1990s, registered voter participation in Africa’s still-fragile democracies has varied widely between countries and over time. Nigeria is the most striking example. Read on
  • FESPACO turns 50

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    Africa’s largest film festival, the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), celebrated its 50th anniversary from 24 February-2 March. The 26th edition of the festival brought together nearly 100 000 film-lovers and screened 165 films from 16 African countries. The government deployed about 2 000 security forces to maximize security surveillance and protect the festival. Joël Karekezi, a Rwandan filmmaker, won the prestigious Golden Stallion of Yennenga for his “Mercy of the Jungle,” a film that denounces the absurdity of war. Read on
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    Incumbent President Macky Sall gathered 2.5 million votes (58%) during the first round of Senegal’s presidential election on 24 February, thus avoiding a second round with a stronger, more united opposition. The two main opposition candidates, Idrissa Seck and Ousmane Sonko obtained 21.5% and 15.67% respectively. Khalifa Sall, the former mayor of Dakar, and Karim Wade, the son of former President Abdoulaye Wade, were unable to run because of corruption convictions. Voter turnout was high (66%) compared to 2012 levels (51.6% during the first round). Read on
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    Following a last-minute postponement, Nigeria’s general elections were eventually held on 23 February. Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected in the first round for a second four-year mandate with 55.6% of votes (15.2 million people). His closest rival, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar gained 41.2% of votes (11.3 million people). Abubakar rejected the results released by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), denouncing the vote as a “sham election” and setting up a legal team to challenge results. Read on
  • SWAC: 
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    The relationship between a country’s armed forces and its government is a crucial indicator of the quality of its democracy and its degree of political stability. The SWAC Secretariat’s most recent West African Paper analyses civil-military relations in six Sahelian countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal). The stabilisation of precarious security situations and the promotion of democratic institutions should be seen as two sides of the same coin. Partners should, therefore, continue to provide military assistance to the Sahel while fostering civilian oversight and democratic reform. Read on

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